Judge halves slander verdict won by casino mogul

Associated Press
FILE - This photo combination of file photos shows casino mogul Steve Wynn, left, in Los Angeles, and "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis, in Los Angeles. A judge has cut casino mogul Steve Wynn's slander verdict against "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis by $21 million, more than half of the original $40 million jury verdict. A jury found that Francis slandered Wynn when he claimed the casino mogul threatened to kill him and bury him in the desert. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, Chris Pizzello, file)
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FILE - This photo combination of file photos shows casino mogul Steve Wynn, left, in Los Angeles, and "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis, in Los Angeles. A judge has cut casino mogul Steve Wynn's slander verdict against "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis by $21 million, more than half of the original $40 million jury verdict. A jury found that Francis slandered Wynn when he claimed the casino mogul threatened to kill him and bury him in the desert. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, Chris Pizzello, file)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge has slashed a damage verdict favoring casino mogul Steve Wynn in a slander case against "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis.

Superior Court Judge Joanne O'Donnell issued the ruling Friday invalidating certain claims and trimming the damage amount from $40 million to $19 million.

The move comes after lawyers for Francis argued that O'Donnell erred when she allowed jurors to consider allegations that Francis slandered Wynn in comments made to TV's "Good Morning America" on the eve of trial.

The judge also says Wynn isn't entitled to punitive damages on the claims, which accounted for $20 million of the verdict.

A call to Wynn's attorney Barry Langberg was not immediately returned.

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